In the first favorable sign recently in the continuing scandal involving homosexual predators among the Roman Catholic clergy, eight American bishops have called on their brethren to convene a plenary council to discuss the “root causes” of the current crisis.
This would be the first American plenary council in more than 100 years. According to the letter sent by the eight bishops, the goals for this one would include:
“Solemnly receiving the authentic teaching of the Second Vatican Council…on the identity, life and ministry of bishops and priests; on matters of sexual morality in general (cf. Gaudium et Spes, Humanae Vitae, Veritatis Splendor, and Familiaris Consortio); [and] on celibate chastity as an authentic form of human sexuality renewed by grace and a share in Christ’s own spousal love for His Church.”
“Giving unequivocal endorsement and normative force to the means outlined in the documents of the Council…to foster the acts of virtue required of pastors and the means needed to achieve those virtues, especially celibate chastity (e.g., daily celebration of the Mass, frequent Confession, daily meditation, regular acts of asceticism, obedient submission to Church teaching and discipline, simplicity of life).”
“Confirming the bishops in the authoritative exercise of our ministry for the health and well being of the church, and strengthening our coworkers in the Presbyterate in their ministry of teaching the Gospel, especially in regard to sexual morality, so that we can give support to the lay faithful in responding to their call to holiness.”
Deal Hudson, the publisher of Crisis magazine, is the source of the letter. He says he can’t reveal the names of the authors, but the list is surprising and represents the entire theological and political spectrum of the American Church.
Sounds a bit like pie in the sky, given the impression one sometimes gets of the American bishops, but they’ve had a shock and sometimes people do wake up. An interesting feature of the letter, given recent discussions on VFR, is that it appeals solely to the documents of Vatican II and subsequent papal pronouncements. Apparently those constitute the common ground to which appeal can now be made.